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Survey: Little U.S. interest in next-generation Internet

By , IDG News Service
May 24, 2005 05:14 PM ET

IDG News Service - IT decision-makers in U.S. businesses and government agencies want better Internet security and easier network management, but few see the next-generation Internet Protocol called IPv6 as helping them achieve their goals, according to a survey released Tuesday by Juniper Networks.

Only 7% of 349 respondents said IPv6 is "very important" to achieve their IT goals, despite features in IPv6 that backers say will improve cybersecurity, make network management easier and improve the quality of Internet connections. Features in IPv6 will also drastically cut the costs of multicasting video over IP and could ease the transition to VoIP, said speakers at the Coalition for Summit for IPv6, in Reston, Va.

"There's an education job to be done," said Rod Murchison, senior director of product management for the Security Products Group at Juniper, a networking vendor backing IPv6.

As countries such as China and Japan embrace IPv6, the U.S. is in danger of losing its technology leadership, said Alex Lightman, chairman of the Coalition Summit for IPv6. Lightman called on Congress to mandate IPv6 adoption among federal agencies as a step toward countrywide adoption. Other countries have used mandates and tax breaks for private companies as incentives, he said.

"The U.S. government is being very stupid about doing IPv6, and it's going to put us at a disadvantage," Lightman said. "If studies like this aren't acted on... then instead of having a quarter of all the world's ISPs clustered here, around Reston, you'll have a quarter of the world's ISPs clustered around Tokyo or Beijing. I don't know if that's what the U.S. government really wants."

Losing technology leadership could cost the U.S. more than jobs, he said. "I am concerned about [ISPs clustered] in Beijing, because there are a whole lot of strings attached to ISPs," he said.

Although the U.S. Department of Defense is moving toward IPv6, other agencies are less excited about it, Lightman said. "They're not going to add this to their stack of responsibilities unless someone tells them to do so," he said.

Lightman also called for a national IPv6 coordination office in the U.S., and advocated that the U.S. government spend $10 billion in the coming years on the transition to IPv6.

Respondents of the survey, IT decision-makers with 71% in government and 29% in private industry, ranked their top IT issues as improving their quality of service, improving and simplifying cybersecurity and improving network management.

"The reality is the answer to a lot of those requirements is IPv6," Murchison said. "Our goal as an industry and a company is to bridge this gap between what IPv6 can enable and the consumer thought process."

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